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Chuck A. Villanueva
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1/48 Grumman F7F-3(N) Tigercat, USMC, Korean War

January 23, 2014 · in Aviation · · 27 · 3.5K

This is /'s original boxing of the , the tools now owned by Italeri and since reboxed under their brand with minor improvements. The AMT kit is notorious for the awful tires used which would literally melt the wheels after awhile as the model is sitting on the shelf. And thankfully I was able to catch it when I first got it, to remove them as one of them had made its way to one of the wing panels in the box, leaving a mark on one of the wing panels. AMT's plastic is very soft and quite easy to work with. With this build I also used Cuttings Edge cockpit set, True Detail wheels, Cutting Edge nose gear leg (White Metal) and the wing fold set. Also used was Aeromaster sheet #48-311 for the black scheme. I had originally set out to use the incorrect props, but ended up losing one of them, so an Ultra Cast replacement was used, can you guess which prop is the correct one?

The -3(N) Tigercat was produced by Grumman, another line of "cats" coming from the NY based producer, Tigercat was first proposed in 1941, as a carrier borne twin engine fighter in line with the new "Midway" class of carrier being constructed by the Navy. But if proved to fast and big to for use on those carriers. So it was relegated to land based operations. However arriving too late in the war to participate in combat. The original name was actually Tomcat, but at the time the negative connotation of the name wasn't acceptable. (have we come along ways in what is considered negative this day and age) so hence Tigercat was chosen instead. Primarily used by the US Marines for close air support in the Korean War. VMF(N)-513 used the Tigercat for night intruder missions. Originally arriving in GSB, they were painted black for their tasking. With the harsh Korean environment, they weathered rather quickly.

To achieve this weathered worn look, I used Xtracrylix Night Black, a glossy finish on the overall airframe. Then I used the new Testor (not really new, it feels like the old Polly S paint which Testors now owns) Polly Scale Grimy Black. As a post shade over the glossy black and random panels on the nose, wings and tail planes to give it a blotchy look. A coat of clear for the decals crossing my fingers and hoping that the clear would not even the 2 blacks, in fact was happy that it enhanced it. Then trying something new in the flat coat. Using Lifecolor Flat Clear for the first time, I couldn't asked for a better result, very flat black finish as I wanted, and even left a blotchy appearance when it dried. Silver pencil was used for the chipping, brown, smoke and a touch of grey for the exhaust stains. Hope you enjoy. Thanks for viewing. My first build for 2014. (though most of it was started in 2013)

Fly Navy

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27 responses

  1. Very nice Tigercat. Looks great with folded wings. Your dull finish looks the part too. I love just about everything Grumman made.

    • Thank you Tony, wanted to do something different, it was not a complicated mod to do to this kit. Plastic was easy to work with, the CE parts were not complicated. Just careful to attach the wingfolds carefully as there not that much of a surface to bond on the wings. Really surprise haven't seen too many built with the wings folded

  2. Great build Chuck. I love the Korean War era aitcraft, which deserve more attention than they get in my opinion. The Tigercat is a graet looking 'plane, but is one that had a relatively short service life? I think it was introduced too late for WW2 but could easily been from that era. Very nice model.

    • The Korean War was a transition from piston powered flight too the jet age. Love the variety of Corsairs, Mustangs and the Tigercat among the first generation of jets like the F-86 Sabre, Panthers and F-80's. As well as the MiG-15. The Tigercat is quite large as well, glad I folded the wings for shelf space.

    • Hey, Gregor! You are right: the F7F AND the F8F had very short careers. The way I understand it, both of the "last WWII Cats" (which never fought during WWII) had begun to be issued with the pilots undergoing "transition training" but they arrived too late for combat. I'd say that that was a VERY lucky break for the "enemy" at the time, because those planes were HOT! But they were a "flash in the pan," so to speak.

      Chuck. Yours. Awesome. What more can I say?!

      'Nuff said.

  3. Nice build Chuck, I have not seen one of those for years.
    And Gregor is right it entered tservice to late for WW2.
    It followed Grumman line of "Cat" named planes.
    Some great pics as well.
    Well done sir.

  4. that's an awesome looker chuck

  5. awesome work, Chuck! i really like the weathered finish - it looks great!

    • Thanks Ramon, I am quite satisfied with the end result not just a flat black finish which can be quite stark. A technique which will come handy when I plan an F-117 build in the near future.

  6. Great work, on a fussy kit. One correction, it was the Essex class carriers, the Tigercat did fly off the larger, post war Midway class, (Midway, FDR, Coral Sea)

  7. Well I'll be damned. Here is a kit I hardly ever see built and when I do, never to such a standard. Well Done.

    • Thank you Seamus, I went and viewed some of the builds which are quite outstanding. And even fewer with the wings folded. This is a project I am quite happy in the end result as normally it would take me a few months into years to complete a project that involves modifications.

  8. It was the Midway class, the Tigercat was never planned for the Essex class carriers already in service. Only the final variant the F7F-4(N) was finally cleared to fly off the Midway class carrier but a very short time. Kit was actually straight forward, even the resin parts were not difficult to install, Only trouble was one of the wingfold inserts was a little to wide on the LH wing panel, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Other than that it was a fun build. Put tons of weight in the nose and it still won't sit on the front gear. I was worried about the strength of the gear over time as it does look fragile. So far it feels sturdy as the kit is quite heavy now with all the weight.

  9. Very nice Tigercat.

  10. Chuck...My compliments on a well done Tigercat. The folded wings are an especially nice touch.

    • I bought the kit about 10 years ago. While In the stash, along the way Cutting Edge offered the wing fold set, the cockpit set as well as the white metal nose gear. Bought those items and threw them in the box. Reading some reviews and builds over the years taking notes on their projects. The nose and prop issues. Finally got motivated to build it when ARC had a Grumman Group Build.last July, really happy I actually got it done in 7 months, something that would normally take me a year or more.

  11. Chuck,
    Very good looking model. I can't to the comments above so I will just agree with the comments and say I like it. I did a tiger at long ago and the tires did melt the landing gears and the melt was on it's way to devour the entire model. F7F's along with TBM's and Guardians were used as fire bombers by Aero Union in the Chico area. Great fun to watch them.

    • Thanks Frank appreciate your comments. Those were one of the comments read when the reviews came out on the kit. That has since been remedied with Italeri's rebox with plastic wheel assy's in the kit replacing the rubber tires.

  12. Great start to the new year, Chuck, very well detailed, built and finished.

    • Thanks George, don't remember the last time finishing anything this early in the year, even carrying over from the prior year. But did promise myself to finish some older projects too make room for new ones.

  13. I've always liked the Tigercat as one of the best-looking twins ever produced.

    You're right that switching between matt-gloss can change the appearance quite a bit, but this one came out just fine. I often find myself gently weathering something only to discover that part of it disappears with a flat coat.

  14. Thank you for the comments, sometimes you plan on something and it doesn't work out, and some happen by accident. In this case it was the latter. Why, maybe using for the first time the Lifecolor Flat clear, dried very flat. Which these aircraft had no shine on them at all. Didn't expect the final result of the finish. A pleasant surprise.

  15. I made this kit back in the 90s nice build . Did you have any problems with the undercarriage legs ?

    • Hi Stephen, it is amazing this kit is that old, how fast time flies when this series of kits were produced by AMT/ERTL. You know I thought I would have problems when it came to sturdiness as they are quite thin structure wise. I did get a white metal nose strut for all the weight I put in. (and still the darn thing still sits on the tail grrrr.). Used the kit main gear assy's. And yes I did struggle a bit to install them. It was like uuugh,eeek and then oh there in, cool.

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